Well, I've written before about candidates that excite me, candidates that bore me, candidates that either inspire me to support them or don't; but very rarely have I ever written about candidates who inspired me to directly oppose them. Frederic von Anhalt is one such candidate.
Prince Frederic is described by the Associated Press as "a tabloid writer's dream". He's married to the infamous Zsa Zsa Gabor (her eighth marriage, his seventh); he claimed to be a long-time lover of Anna Nicole Smith and the father of her baby (which was later refuted); and he's an adopted member of European royalty. Now, he's running for Governor of California.
This is an election that I seriously considered avoiding in my blog. Though the rest of the country has a vested interest in California's success, even to the point the federal government floated the idea of "bailing them out" (if it comes to that), my feeling is they should determine their own politics, their own laws, and especially their own leaders. There are plenty of candidates running for statewide and federal offices in the Golden State, and while I support some of them, I don't really feel it appropriate to involve myself in those races. At least, I didn't feel that way.
California politics, particularly the gubernatorial races, have a goofy reputation in the rest of the country. When Arnold Schwarzenegger ran to replace the recalled Governor Gray Davis in 2003, he was hardly alone on the ballot. A host of actors, entrepreneurs, porn stars, and even a character from the cartoon strip "Doonesbury" were "also rans" that year. This year, candidates include former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, former Governor Jerry Brown, and State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner (Governor Schwarzenegger is prohibited from running again by term limits). This seems like a fair crop of candidates, and any "also rans" can add "candidate for Governor" to their memoirs, if they like.
Prince Frederic, though, is more than just another third-party candidate. He is "royalty", after all, and may be able to donate a large sum of his own money to fund his campaign. His notoriety gives him name recognition that other third-party candidates would not have. His positions on legalizing marijuana, gay marriage, and prostitution (at least partly so he can tax all of them to help raise revenue in California) could make him rather popular in certain key demographics, and give him access to more fundraising. And running as an independent helps him with those who are frustrated with the two-party system.
Still, I wasn't as shaken by all that as I was by the attitude with which he entered the race. He said in an interview that he has watched the governor for years and is tired of all the broken promises, declaring that he himself "does not make promises he can't keep." So far, so good. However, when asked about his qualifications to be chief executive of one of the largest economies in the world, let alone the largest state in the nation, Prince Frederic merely responded that Governor Schwarzenegger "had no more experience than I do" when he was first elected. (How did that work out for California, by the way?)
In response to his various high-profile hijinks and whether they'd affect his candidacy, the prince just shrugged. "I went through lots of things, lots of scandals, but that was yesterday, that's old news," he said. "Look at what Bill Clinton did in the White House. That was bad, but he got away with it. America gives you a break." America does not "give you a break", your highness. America demands more of its leaders, more of its governors and presidents than we do of our private citizens. We demand leaders who inspire us, who can actually lift us and lead us to greater things.
I was going to stay out of California politics, since it's so far from where I am, but in an age where one state's collapse can mean the collapse of the whole country, in a world where a person can cross into your state illegally and then make his way across the country to mine, your state is not so far from mine. Thank you, Prince Frederic, for convincing me that no state is far enough away that the man running it can't ruin things for the rest of the country. Congratulations; here's one Virginian who'll be working against you in the coming election.
Those of you on Facebook can join a new group, Defeat Prince Frederic van Anhalt. It does not support any one candidate, so whoever you support in the California Governor's race, you can join; as long as you oppose Prince Frederic.
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